Making the decision to buy your own home can be one of the most stressful but rewarding choices of all. If you’re a first-time buyer, the entire process can seem very intimidating. A few common-sense tips can help you ease your way through it much easier.
First off, go visit your local library and borrow a few books on basic real estate principals. Make a sincere attempt at learning the jargon associated with the real estate process, so once you’re sitting in a meeting with a seller, a real estate agent and a bank officer, you’ll have a better idea of what everyone is talking about.
Second, know what the difference is between “pre-qualified not pre-approved”, “pre-qualified” and “pre-approved”. Sound confusing? It can be. It all relates to how serious of a buyer you are. If you’re “pre-approved not pre-approved” it simply means that you have given a letter to a potential seller that you can afford their property. It’s nice, but it doesn’t mean much. If you’re “pre-qualified” it means that you have a letter from a mortgage broker saying what he thinks you can afford. This is better than not having a letter, but you can do better still. If you’re “pre-approved” it means that you not only have a letter from a broker, but everything in the letter was shown to be true by a lender and most of the work for a loan has already been done. You’ll have a MUCH better chance of getting the house you want if you’re “pre-approved” than if you are only on one of the other stages.
Choose the right lender. One of the phrases you’re bound to get sick of hearing when you’re thinking about buying a home is, “do the research!!” This can’t be emphasized enough since banks offer different rates across the board. The more banks you visit, the better the chances are of you getting a better deal.
Make sure that you plan for possible delays in processing. Any business that deals in red tape is going to have problems getting things done on time. Real estate purchases are no different, so make sure you factor these likely problems into your plans.
While none of these tips are foolproof, they can help you through a very stressful time. No doubt you will still have times where you feel like putting your fist through a wall, but a little common sense goes a long way when dealing with real estate, and the more you know, the better off you’ll be.